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Nailed It! How To Grow Long and Strong Nails!

7 March, 2018 - 09:03pm by - Head Pixie | 16 Comments

By BR Tabatha

We've all been there. You're going about your day, things are running smoothly, you're feeling pretty good about the world and then you go to rip open an envelope, or a courier package, or maybe you're straightening up your tights, and you feel this... tug. Or a gut-wrenching flick. Sometimes it's followed by the human equivalent of sticky tape being pulled off its round. Then, if things go really wrong, you feel the searing pain.

You stop what you're doing, bring your hand upwards, and there it is... a snagged nail. A ripped nail. A jagged nail. 

And the worst bit is? You're not even surprised, because your nails are prone to breaking, tearing, snapping, pulling back at an angle that nails should NOT pull back at. 

So what's a gal to do if she wants to grow strong and long nails? Here's a few tips and tricks we've discovered during our beauty journey...

First things first? 

Put the good stuff in your bod and you'll improve your chances of getting good stuff out. Want stronger nails? Think Vitamin H (aka Biotin), Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. You can pop a pill if you're so inclined (always check with a health professional first), or you could eat your way to stronger nails. Think eggs, nuts, seeds, dairy, avocado, citrus fruits, kumara, strawberries, red meat, seafood, chicken, wholegrains, legumes... hold on, we're basically describing the building blocks of a healthy diet. There you have it - eat healthy food. (And again, 'cause we can't say it enough, if you're embarking on a new way of eating chat with a health professional first.) 

Once you've got your internals working to keep your externals in tip top condition. Keep your nails, their cuticles and surrounds in excellent condition. This is easy enough to achieve by massaging in a moisturiser, cream or oil onto your cuticles whenever you have a spare moment throughout the day. If you really want to give your hands and nails a treat - slather on product, pop some socks or gloves over your hands and head off to the land of Zzzzz for an intensive overnight treatment.

A fact that's hard to swallow (for me anyway):  Your nails should not be doing the hard yakka for you. This means don't use them to scrape sticker glue off packaging, don't use them to rip into anything. Recently I used my nails to pull apart the ring part of my key ring and surely enought there's now a big crack in my nails - don't do that. Instead keep tools on hand to do the hard work for you. Scissors, letter openers, craft knives were invented for a reason.

I blame 80s movies for teaching me how to file my nails wrong. All those cool working women would be sitting at their desks, chewing gum, yacking on the phone, while filing the heck out of their nails back and forth, back and forth. Turns out that's a no-no. When filing file in one direction only, and keep the pressure light.

Say you're doing the dishes or washing windows or household surfaces - protect your nails by popping on some gloves, as detergents can weaken your nails, as can soaking your nails in water for too long.

Washing your hands a lot? You can hardly wear gloves for that! So make a point of moisturising your hands and nails more often if you're regularly soaping up your digits. (Oh, and maybe cut back of hand sanitiser - all the ones I could find in the office and at home were choc-full of alcohol, and that stuff is dryyyyyyyyying.)

Speaking of alcohol... if you're serious about creating strong nails you might want to take a break from polishing and removing polish for a while. Polishes and removers can contain harsh chemicals, which will further dry out your nails, therefore making them more prone to breakage. 

So what to do if you do happen to tear your nails? Keep a pair of nail scissors, a file or clippers in your purse so you can deal to the raggedness before it gets worse. If it's really bad and you're at home you can always attempt a repair job using the tea bag method. Check out this tutorial from YouTuber Julia Graaf.

Top three things to remember if you want stronger nails?

1.  Eat well.

2. Don't soak them too long.

3. Ironically, don't let them dry out.

So... are your nails in need of some tender loving care? Or are your nails in perfect condition? Do tell... what are your tips and tricks? What do we need to know? Sharing is caring!

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My nails have never been very good. I tend to keep them fairly short because they break off anyway. My tips are to use cuticle oil, and to cut the nail straight across so it is square in shape.

That's very interesting, because my tip would have been to file them rounded! My reasoning is they're less likely to catch onto something and snag if they're nice and round. Why do you say square?

7th March, 2018 at 10:13 pm

Well, I cut them straight across, and then make the corners rounded with a file. So the overall look is square, but there are no sharp edges. I just think my nails are stronger that way.

8th March, 2018 at 10:27 pm

Mine have improved since my diet has included more eggs and bone broth. Gardening does them no favours though.

I don't have a problem growing my nails but one or two always tear. So I do need to start wearing gloves while I'm cleaning and also need to stop using my nails to fix things, il see if that helps

Yes I forget to wear gloves for most tasks

8th March, 2018 at 7:29 am

I swear by a cuticle balm and hand/nail cream every night at bedtime... and when I apply moisturiser, serums etc. on my face in the morning and at night, I always massage whats left on my finger tips into my nails/cuticles too (no idea if this does anything, but my cuticles look great!).... I tend to keep my nails at finger tip length so they don't break too often

I have long nails that do get damaged by gardening however I rub hand creams and oils into my nails on a regular basis to try and keep them as strong as possible. I'm not good at wearing gloves except for gardening so I am my worst enemy

My nails have definitely improved since last year. Every single nail was bendy and splitting but I notice now that I just have the odd splitting nail. Growing them has never been a problem. Top tips: Cuticle oil after mani's, repeated applications of hand cream during the day, and if you are a nail polish wearing addict like myself between polish applications have a day break. This just gives the nail a breather and has worked well for me.

Hahahah love the 80s movies reference! So good.

I keep my nails short anyway! I just find it way too annoying when they're long, and I hate the feeling of dirt building up under them.

Some really good points in the article, I can attest that Jiff is The Worst for ruining my nails, so no cleaning without gloves for me! I have had bare nails for about 2 weeks now, its been hard, dealing with splitting, broken, dry nails, but I recently bought some Sally Hansen Moisture Rehab, it is fantastic!

They get to that length and then once one goes they all start

Mine are ok. Nail hardener is my friend.

My nails had started flaking recently so i started taking Blackmores Hair, skin and nails formula. I only take one a day, but my nails don't flake anymore.

When I get a split I just pretty much part with the broken part and then cut all my nails a bit shorter to make the one that broke stand out less. I have some lop sided nails because of that.

My nails have also been strong so I'm blessed with that, but my cuticles are often dry!

I could never really grow my nails for long without breaking them. Those tips are very helpful. I do wash my hands a lot, I didn't think that would cause them to be weak.


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